|Volume 13, Number 20||7 October 2011|
Welcome to the 316th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We play around with a large but affordable reflector before Michael considers Canon's latest entry-level Rebel. Then we beg you for your 2011 Ersatz Nobel nominations. In a nice, groveling way.
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One morning during the recent round of camera announcements (which apparently isn't quite finished yet), we awoke remembering what a thrill the new car models were each year before we ever had any car keys in our pocket.
We may not have had any keys, but we had, along with a couple of buddies in the back of the classroom, a pencil or two with which we'd conjure up designs for next year. They often looked like Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Roth) was our uncle, but somehow we also found the 1964 Dodge Dart irresistible.
We couldn't drive a car but we could make one with a pencil. Who knows, those pencil drawings might even be more valuable than any old Dodge Dart these days.
Photography publications, sites and forums can get their generators spinning by asking whether the camera or the photographer makes the image, but photographers know just what weight to give to each. You can tell if an 8x10 was taken with an iPhone but you can't tell if it was taking by an Olympus PEN or a Canon EOS. You can tell if it was taken by Joe McNally or Joe McGillyguddy.
We didn't pick Joe McNally out of thin air.
When he talks photography, he talks about light. Not so much cameras. Once in a while, he'll rave about some new sensor, sure, but day after day he talks about manipulating light. Whatever light's available, he likes to say. Flash if nothing else.
Whatever camera you have, you don't get a picture without light. And studying how to paint your subject with light is how you learn to be a photographer -- even if you've vowed to use only natural light.
Ironic then that the least discussed accessory in the game is the reflector. It's as if astronomers routinely ignored the moon. That big bright ball right in front of them.
A reflector puts light where it isn't, which is still something we regard as a miracle. We love natural light because that's how we see things, that's how we find things, that's how we are attracted to them in the first place. But it can almost always be improved.
And when you appreciate the reduction in dynamic range your image suffers moving from reality to a file, you know the kind of help you need. Brighten the shadows, hang onto the highlights.
A reflector (with a built-in diffuser) does that. It's the one accessory that can make the kind of non-global exposure adjustments to your scene you usually can only make to your image. (Your flash is the other one, but it can't do anything about the highlights and tends to ruin the midtones if your fill is too hot, something your reflector can't do.)
We've been using a 42-inch collapsible Photoflex MultiDisc (http://www.photoflex.com/Hidden/Specifications/MultiDisc_5__n_1_Specifications/index.html) for several months. But we aren't ashamed to admit we've used everything from mounting boards to pillowcases to reflect light. The MultiDisc, though, has made life a bit more enjoyable.
Photoflex offers three sizes: 22-inch ($48.95), 32-inch ($76.95) and 42-inch ($99.95). All of them feature:
You won't want to store the disc long, though. The gold surface tends to stick to itself, so Photoflex recommends unfolding the disc every now and then to air it out. It nearly makes you feel financially secure to have a big gold disk staring at you every now and then. But if you find it blinding, you can just use it as a halo.
- Excellent craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology
- A heavy-duty spring-steel frame with a lifetime guarantee
- Proprietary double-laminated fabric, hand-sewn to fit the frame
- An extensive quality control process so it works out of the box
- A carry bag for easy transport and storage
It's called a 5-in-1 reflector because it includes five surfaces to stretch over that one frame. Those surfaces are:
Nope, no black to block light. You're back to your art board for that. Or Photoflex's 42-inch black/silver LiteDisc reflector ($50).
- Gold for a sunset effect that warms the scene, giving healthy-looking skin tones
- Silver to increase specular highlights and yield a high-contrast image
- Soft Gold, which mixes silver and gold in a zig-zag pattern for a "warm, summery feel" that's helpful with skin tones
- Translucent to diffuse light, producing a broad light source and soft effects
- White to brighten with reflected light
Light, light, light. Transformed. That's what it's all about. Whether your light is solar powered (with genuine sun spots) or strobish.
HANDLING THE MULTIDISC
The MultiDisc is shipped in its nylon carrying case, a 16-inch round bag with a heavy-duty zipper that runs halfway around the bag. Like everything Photoflex makes, it's very well designed. You know, as if someone actually thought about it first.
A four-page letter-sized flyer accompanies the MultiDisc to explain how to open it (it's folded), change the surfaces and fold it back up to fit in the case. You probably don't need to be told much more than how to fold it back up, though.
When you remove the MulitDisc from its bag, it springs open, presenting two usable surfaces right away. They are both reflective surfaces because they are the outer skins of the reversible bag that slips over the diffused fabric that covers the nearly half-inch wire frame of the MultiDisc.
Think of the MultiDisc as a diffuser on a round frame with a reversible bag.
The reversible bag has a heavy duty, 360-degree zipper at the edge of its four reflective surfaces (since you can't get any light through it): white, silver, gold and soft gold (gold with silver). With gold showing on one side, white is available on the other. With silver showing, soft gold is available on the other side.
To use the diffuser, you unzip the reversible bag and remove it. To use any of the surfaces, you simply bag the diffuser with the right surface on the outside. There's a slit in the bag for the white loop of the diffuser frame to slip through, otherwise it's a piece of cake. An assistant could do it. Even a professional photographer, come to think of it.
Folding it back up sounds like it would take a contortionist, but with just a bit of moxie it turns out to be just as simple as opening it. All you really have to do is hold the bagged frame with two hands spread as far apart as possible (180 degrees) and twist the frame into a figure eight. Go a little further and it collapses on itself. You can easily adjust it so the circles are similar in size and fit into the bag, but you may not need to.
Keeping the five (or six) surfaces clean is the real trick to a long and useful life (for the MultiDisc). You obviously can't put it in the washer or even dry clean it. So the best approach is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place.
USING THE MULTIDISC
Positioning the MultiDisc is the trick to actually using it. And there are as many ways of performing that trick as there are photographers. Or assistants.
Clearly one of the most versatile ways of positioning a MultiDisc is a human light stand or assistant. Multidics are all quite lightweight, so it isn't any trouble to hold one. The 22-inch model is just 0.7 lbs. and the 42-inch model is 1.7 lbs.
Lacking that, a pair of A clamps is a good starting point, although the wire frame on the MultiDisk puts, like a tire, the flat part on the road, so clamps have nothing to grab but the thin sides of the frame. We tend to hold it or lean it. We have enough clutter in the bunker to lean it against something.
So you're better off with a stand with a pivoting arm. Photoflex offers the 42-inch MultiDisc with a holder and light stand as a $193 kit. You can get the holder separately for $55.
You can also pick up connector clips to stick two or more of these together to build larger reflectors and diffusers. A set of six is $13.50.
You can use the MultiDisc indoors or outdoors, although beware the wind. That's where an assistant is especially handy.
Reflector. Remember light is bounced by the reflector so the reflector will typically be placed opposite the main light and aimed at the unlit shadows of your subject. Nothing really much more to it than that. Although the actual angle and distance from the subject makes all the difference.
The metallic surfaces can be distractingly overpowering, so modulate them by backing off from the subject.
In outdoor portraits, a reflector can brighten the harsh shadows falling in the eye sockets, under the nose and under the chin. Bounce the main light back up into the face to flood those areas.
Indoors, the big problem is that light usually comes from one side of the subject, typically from one window, leaving the far side of your subject poorly illuminated. The trick here is to use the MultiDisc to reflect that main light back on the far side of the subject.
Whether indoors or out, start with the reflector close to your subject but out of the shot and move back as necessary to modulate the effect.
Diffuser. On the other hand, using the MultiDisc as a diffuser means interrupting a source of illumination (main or secondary) with it so it scatters that light on your subject.
So you'll want to put the MultiDisc between your light source and your subject to diffuse the light.
The beauty of using a MultiDisc, of course, is that unlike a strobe, you don't have to wait until you shoot an image to see what effect it has if you're using natural light. You see the effect in real time on your subject and can fiddle until your hourly rate comes down.
We think a reflector is one of the best moves you can make after you snag a camera. Sure, it won't keep you up at night comparing specs between competing models, but you get a really warm feeling staring at a 42-inch circle of gold while sipping your coffee in the morning wondering how to shoot what.
There are less expensive alternatives but the Photoflex MultiDisc is so well made you won't be replacing it and so well designed you'll quickly make friends with it. Lifelong friends. Highly recommended.
By MICHAEL R. TOMKINS, News Editor(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3A.HTM on the Web site.)
Having spent a couple of weeks with the Canon T3, I've found it to be quite an enjoyable camera to shoot with, bearing in mind that it's primarily a budget-conscious model aimed at the entry level photographer.
Despite my larger than average hands -- I'm a little over six feet tall -- the T3's body was relatively comfortable whether shooting with a single- or double-handed grip. But I did find myself wishing for somewhat of a deeper handgrip, as my fingers felt a little cramped when shooting single-handed. That probably led me to shoot two-handed more often than I'd typically do, to avoid my fingertips being pressed into the body on the inside of the grip.
Although there's no mistaking the plastic body for what it is, it feels impressively solid and free from panel flex or creak and so I'd see the material choice therefore as a very acceptable tradeoff that has allowed a worthwhile savings in both weight and cost.
The main controls were positioned comfortably within reach of my forefinger or thumb, although for my own preference, the Main dial could use being angled forward rather more. As is, I felt it a little awkward to roll without adjusting my handhold, perhaps in part due to its very firm detents.
The ISO button's new location on the rear panel makes a lot of sense to me, given that you must be looking at the LCD to see the selected value and I very much appreciated Canon's decision to vary the button shapes and sizes. Not only does this give the T3's body a more modern feel, but it also makes it much easier to identify buttons by feel alone, once you've learned the layout. (Although I didn't have the opportunity to try this, given that we're in the height of a sweltering Tennessee summer, it strikes me that the larger button sizes would make them easier to press with gloved fingers, as well.)
I wasn't quite so thrilled by the new viewfinder, however. Perhaps I've grown accustomed to shooting with enthusiast cameras, but looking through the T3's viewfinder feels a little bit like looking down a tunnel. While that's not surprising given that this is an entry-level camera, the fact remains that this is a new viewfinder design and yet has taken a slight step backwards from that in the preceding Rebel XS model.
Not only has magnification just slightly reduced, but perhaps more importantly, the dioptric correction range has also fallen. While that didn't affect me personally -- my uncorrected eyesight is pretty good -- it was an issue noted in our preview by Publisher Dave Etchells, who found the T3 couldn't quite compensate for his 20/200 nearsightedness, requiring him to keep his glasses on even when glare from ambient light would ordinarily persuade him to do otherwise.
On a positive note, though, he also found that the smaller viewfinder and reasonably high eyepoint meant that he didn't have to mash his eyeglasses quite as much in order to see the whole field of view.
LOW LIGHT SHOOTING
On a positive note, though, the Canon Rebel T3's low-light capabilities are much improved over those of its predecessor.
The Rebel XS's maximum sensitivity limit of ISO 1600 equivalent was on the low side even when that camera first shipped three years ago and feels positively anemic by modern standards. The Canon T3's upper limit of ISO 6400 equivalent, while it doesn't quite match the maximum available from its entry-level competition, no longer feels limiting.
Personally, I found everything up to ISO 3200 to be very usable straight out of the camera and even up to the ISO 6400 limit, good results were possible, although I generally preferred to shoot in Raw and spend a little time in Photoshop for the best results.
There's even more of an advantage when comparing the XS and T3 with each camera's standard kit lens mounted. While our sister site, SLRgear, has yet to complete thorough testing of the updated EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II lens, subjectively I found its image stabilization capabilities quite impressive, letting me hand-hold shots that I'm not confident I could've achieved with the previous version of the lens.
Newcomers to dSLR photography will likely gravitate to the T3's Live View mode, if they've grown up shooting at arm's length with a compact camera. Even without an articulated LCD I certainly appreciated it myself.
I find myself using Live View most frequently to shoot over my head or low to the ground, getting shots I simply couldn't manage with my eye to the viewfinder. The T3's LCD panel has wide-enough viewing angles that I can get at least an idea of my framing even from a fairly extreme angle. The 10x magnification function makes manual focusing pretty easy, despite the LCD's relatively low resolution.
Unfortunately, while I found the Rebel T3's Live View mode to be pretty reliable in terms of achieving a focus lock, except for extremely low-contrast subjects or in low ambient light, the contrast detection autofocus system felt slow enough that I generally ended up disabling it altogether in favor of phase detection and some extra mirror flipping.
While the T3's movie capture capabilities don't rival those available from enthusiast cameras, they're a huge step forward from the Rebel XS, which didn't offer video recording at all.
For its target market, the ability to capture 720p high-def movie clips is likely enough to satisfy most customers, while the ability to control exposure, audio levels and the like would probably be overkill.
I must admit I'm a little surprised that Canon didn't include the ability to record standard-definition video, though. With social media being such a big deal these days, the ability to record longer clips at lower resolution while retaining manageable file sizes conducive to online sharing would be a bonus. (And frankly, it would also help hide any slight issues with the subject moving away from the point of focus, given that the T3 doesn't provide continuous autofocus during video capture.)
Single autofocus operations are available during capture if you enable the relevant menu option and while I didn't find this to be very useful given the relatively slow speed, hunting and intrusive autofocus motor noise with the kit lens, some consumer videographers will probably still welcome the ability. (If nothing else, it lets you quickly adjust focus without stopping recording and then the AF operation can be excised from the video clip in post-processing.)
The most important issue for my money is the relatively slow burst shooting speed when shooting raw images, coupled with the T3's limited buffer depth. My reflexes aren't quite what they used to be and I find a swift burst shooting function can be very helpful in making up for my deficiencies in this area.
If you're shooting in JPEG mode, things aren't all that bad, with three frames per second for around 17 frames, but as soon as you switch to Raw shooting, the speed drops significantly to two frames per second and the buffer fills after just the third frame.
If you're a belt-and-suspenders type who favors Raw+JPEG, there's effectively no buffer at all -- a single frame fills the available memory and you have to wait three quarters of a second until you can capture the next frame. From there, you can capture another frame every 1.5 seconds, effectively making Raw+JPEG shooting unusable for anything even moderately fast-paced.
If you want to shoot sports in Raw mode, you'll want to move up to one of Canon's more advanced models. Family documentarians with hyperactive kids may also want to look toward a more sophisticated camera.
There are a couple of other points that might persuade some users to look higher up Canon's model line, but at the entry level, I think that either is arguably of minimal importance.
Spot Metering. The Rebel T3 lacks spot metering and more experienced shooters may mourn its absence, but I must admit that I don't find myself using it terribly often -- exposure compensation generally suffices, especially when I can immediately review my results alongside both luminance and RGB histograms.
Dust Removal. Of more concern is the lack of any mechanism for removing dust from the image sensor. The T3 does include an antistatic coating on the low-pass filter that attempts to prevent dust sticking in the first place. But should a stubborn dust particle adhere above the sensor's surface, the T3 lacks Canon's piezoelectric system that -- in the company's other recent dSLR models -- shakes dust free with a burst of high-frequency vibration.
Instead, the T3 relies solely on the ability to map the locations of dust particles, then retouch them from images in post-processing.
I'm of two minds about this design decision. On the one hand, I'm sure it's helped Canon to hit its price-point with the T3 and many owners will likely never remove their kit lens, making dust reduction a moot point. If, on the other hand, you're purchasing the Rebel T3 expecting to take advantage of the ability to change lenses, then like any such camera dust is eventually going to become an issue and you're going to end up having to clean the sensor manually.
It strikes me that -- for users really taking advantage of their camera -- it's thus at the entry-level where a built-in dust removal system could prove of the most benefit, saving entry-level photographers from having to step outside their comfort zone to clean the sensor manually or at least allowing them to go a little while longer in between manual cleanings.
With any camera, though, the most important feature has to be its image quality and here I feel that Canon's done a pretty good job with the T3. There are some slight quirks, especially with indoor white balance, but they're easily worked around. With good glass, the Canon T3 is capable of great results, especially considering that it is, after all, an entry-level model.
Even at its highest ISO sensitivity, it can yield quite usable prints at up to 11x14, and at ISO 800 or below you can expect to manage prints up to 20x 30, or smaller sizes with generous room for cropping.
With the Canon T3i kit costing half as much again as the T3, photographers who don't have the need for even larger print sizes -- and who can live with the T3's sedate burst-shooting capabilities -- will find much to love for an entry-level pricetag. For many consumers, the savings in cost compared to the T3i could bring a second lens within reach, providing an alternative to the kit lens.
That could let them really take advantage of one of the main benefits of an SLR camera compared to compact and bridge models and might well prove the smarter choice, rather than going for a more capable body with only one kit lens.
You can find our Test Shots at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3A7.HTM and the Gallery Shots at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3GALLERY.HTM.
Although it occupies the entry-level position in Canon's dSLR lineup, the Rebel T3 has a fairly rich feature set and offers a significant step forwards from the earlier Rebel XS.
Handling is good, with a comfortable grip, although those with larger hands may find the handgrip just slightly shallow for their liking. The main controls are well located and an array of large buttons of varying shape make it easy to operate the camera by touch, once you've had a little while to familiarize yourself with the layout. As you'd expect of a consumer-oriented camera with what -- by dSLR standards, anyway -- is a relatively compact body, the number of external controls isn't excessive and there's quite a bit of button-sharing going on, but the key exposure variables can all be adjusted without needing to enter the menu system. Friendly touches like the Quick Menu's Feature Guide help less experienced photographers build the confidence to leave their manual at home.
The lack of a mechanical dust reduction system is a surprise, but in some ways does make sense. While it's entry-level buyers who're most likely to feel out of their depth with sensor cleaning, they're also more likely than most to leave the kit lens on their camera, buying a dSLR for its handling and large-sensor image quality, rather than for the ability to change lenses. Likewise, the rather anemic burst-shooting speed and depth in Raw mode can to some extent be overlooked, given that typically consumer behavior will be to shoot JPEGs most of the time, if not exclusively. The T3's new viewfinder is a rather more significant disappointment. We don't like to see specifications being reduced in a newer camera, but that's what has happened here. To be fair, the decrease in magnification is only slight, but the same can't be said of the reduced diopter correction range and this change may well cause some eyeglass-wearers to look to a different camera.
At the end of the day, however, image quality is probably the main reason an entry-level buyer is looking to step up from a compact or bridge model and here the Canon T3 does a pretty good job. With the exception of a rather warm auto white balance in indoor shooting, the T3's accurate color and good detail make for generally pleasing results. While the T3's sensor resolution might not rival that of more expensive cameras, it matches its main entry-level rivals and offers plenty of opportunity for generous print sizes or a fair degree of post-capture cropping to fine-tune your framing. Compared to its predecessor, the Canon T3 has also taken a very worthwhile step forwards in terms of high ISO performance, not to mention the addition of high-def movie capture capabilities.
Overall, the Canon Rebel T3 offers a fairly compelling package for amateur photographers looking to step up to their first dSLR and some existing Rebel owners may also find the T3 to be a worthy upgrade. More experienced shooters, however -- especially those who tend to shoot exclusively in Raw -- will want to look at alternatives with greater burst-shooting performance. To be fair to Canon, though, they're not really the target market for this camera. For the entry-level buyer wanting to step up to an SLR for the first time, the Canon T3 offers a pretty compelling package that earns it a Dave's Pick.
At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:
- Reviewed: Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/WG1GPS/WG1GPSA.HTM). Weatherproof GPS 5x zoom digicam has everything but image quality.
- Reviewed: Canon 2x Extender EF II (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/434/cat/62). So what effect does a teleconverter have on image quality? Thanks to our friends at LensRentals.com (http://www.lensrentals.com), we've tested the Canon 2x Extender EF II on the 200mm f/2.8L II USM and can finally tell you.
- Reviewed: Canon 1.4x Extender EF II (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/435/cat/62)
- First Shots: Pentax Q (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/PENTAXQ/PENTAXQA.HTM). The heart of the Pentax Q is its backside-illuminated 1/2.3"-type CMOS image sensor that's quite a bit smaller than Nikon's new CX-format sensor and much smaller than the Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sized sensors in most other competing models. But it also allows Pentax to make the camera body and lenses significantly smaller.
- Reviewed: Canon 200mm f/2.8L II USM (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/161/cat/10). Originally released in 1996, theis lens still holds great appeal as a capable telephoto prime lens. So we put the lens through its paces in the lab.
- Reviewed: Canon T3 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3/T3A.HTM)
Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:
Read about the CanoScan 9000F Scanner at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.eeb0378
Visit the Digital Cameras Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2a8
Read about the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II printer at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eeacf6a
Read about Sigma lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=8
Visit the General Q&A Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee718ec
It will come as no surprise to our readers swamped with new camera announcements that the universe is expanding. And yet, it was of sufficient amusement to the Nobel committee to award a prize to the three astronomers who proved it.
It may, however, come as a surprise that it's Nobel season again. And with it, the task of nominating a worthy enterprise or two for the Ersatz Nobel for Extraordinary Customer Service.
That nominating task, fortunately for us, falls on you.
Every year at this time we ask you to tell us about some little incident from the last year that demonstrates "extraordinary customer service." These days the "extraordinary" requirement may be met by nothing more than a human being actually answering the phone. But you be the judge.
We've been doing this for a while with the hope that we could expand the universe of firms practicing extraordinary customer service. Sadly it seems few firms are even "practicing" it, let alone expanding the practice. Instead, the trend these days seems to be to hide behind fig leafs like "the bottom line" and "stockholders" instead of taking "customer service" seriously.
But we always feel that way until we start reading your stories.
If you need a little inspiration, take a look at the past winners in our Index of Articles (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-indx.html). It will warm your heart to the task.
To submit your entry, simply email us at email@example.com with the Subject line "Ersatz Nobel Prize." Expand on the topic, please.
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RE: High ISO, No Flash?
In your review of the Canon SX230 HS did you notice that in Auto mode with the flash on, if there is enough light in the room the flash won't fire and the camera will boost the ISO up to 1600. Why would anyone make a camera do this?
-- Marty Raucher(Because a digicam's built-in flash is a horrible thing compared to natural light <g>. Canon presumably assumes snapshooters could care less about noise at ISO 1600. They (we) aren't pixel peepers. We just want to capture what we see the way it looks -- and if it looks good on the LCD, we're happy. We may, if pressed, print a 4x6, but most of our sharing is a resized (and pixel binned) image on the Web, which minimizes the noise.... Canon does have a solution for the photographer who objects to this, of course. Switch to Program mode and just force the flash on or cap the ISO on your digicam. -- Editor)
RE: Strange Printer Problem
I bought the Pixma Pro9000 Mark II after reading your review. I have been very pleased with it. I have made about 120 13x19-inch prints. After about 100 prints I had a problem where the paper just ran through the printer and only the last one and a half inches would print. After using all the maintenance utilities unsuccessfully I reinstalled the drivers and it worked away fine, but now the same problem has arisen. After reinstalling the drivers it made just one print and reoccurred. Can you help?
-- Bob Rock(Well, it sounds like a page size issue, Bob. Reinstalling the drivers probably only resets the settings for the standard driver. Some helpful application may be goofing things up when you aren't looking. So when it happens again, hunt around the driver's various options to find the culprit. And when you've got it set up right, save the setup as a preset you can recall to override any rogue application's settings. -- Editor)
RE: Scanning Questions
I have got quite a lot of old black and white as well as color prints of typical album sizes. (I do not have the negatives.)
I typically scan them at 150 dpi, 300 dpi & some times 600 dpi and save them as TIFF files. I find that the file sizes tend to increase a great deal based on the scanning resolution and hence I would like to request for some guidelines for scanning resolution.
- If I wish to scan them for making copies/prints what is the minimum resolution I should use?
- If I need to archive precious old photos, what resolution should I typically use? Would this be higher than the one for making copies/prints?
- When I view the scanned images on my monitor, I am not readily able to see the difference owing to using a higher resolution. Any tricks/hints on assessing the quality linked to using a higher resolution?
- Can you please suggest some links that provide some hints about this type of scanning?
- Does it help to scan B&W prints with color settings? When I set the scanner settings to B&W, the image size is smaller. By scanning a B&W print as a color print, does it capture "more" information and hence a better scan for the longer run (be it printing or archiving)?
-- Nandan Bellare(OK, here we go: (1) If you don't want to enlarge them, the next question is what resolution your printer needs to make a good print. Something between 150 and 200 dpi is usually fine. Test by scanning the same print at all three resolutions and printing them. Note the time to print each and see if you can detect any difference in the prints. If you want to enlarge the image, scan at a higher resolution. (2) Considering that you may want to enlarge them in the future, yes. But more than 300 dpi isn't usually necessary for prints. (3) Well, you should see a much larger image. More dots to describe the information. No tricks. (4) Print scanning is not much discussed because prints do not have much of a tonal range (unlike film, which does). (5) If you don't need color information, just use the 16-bit grayscale (with an 8-bit conversion, typically) setting to get the best tonal reproduction. -- Editor)
RE: Dusty Negatives
I have 1,000 black and white prints from 1910 to the 1940s. They vary in size from 1x2 to 5x7 inches. I want to scan them into my iMac. I have an old Epson 4990 scanner I would like to replace. I have all the Adobe CS5, Elements, LR3, Aperture.
-- Richard E. Dornblaser(For scanning reflective copy (you know, prints), we you really don't need anything fancier than what came with your scanner. And that scanner should be able to do just as good a job on prints as a newer model. Try the automatic, simple mode for reflective scanning. It will probably be faster than fooling around with any advanced options and deliver comparable results, too. -- Editor)
RE: Inverting Color Negatives
Thanks for your great review of the CanoScan 9000F. It sealed the deal for me.
Question related to inverting color negatives: Is is better to use ScanGear's default of automatically inverting negatives in the scan dialog? Or use a curves adjustment or other plugin within Photoshop CS5 (the version I own)?
-- Christian Jessen(While it's not clear what ScanGear does to convert color negatives to positives, it does a good job. You don't have to identify the emulsion, but it gets it right. So start there. If you have issues (and lots of time), set up a curve. The Newsletter has a couple of Advanced Mode articles in the archive (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-arch.html) that tell you how to build your own curves for color negatives. If that drives you nuts, resort to a third-party scanning solution. Certainly VueScan and SilverFast (with NegaFix) reliably convert a wide range of film emulsions -- if you can identify your film. -- Editor)
Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has released Lightroom 3.5 along with Camera Raw 6.5 and DNG Converter 6.5. The new Lightroom corrects "issues introduced in previous versions" and adds support for "over 20 new camera models including the Nikon Coolpix P7100, Olympus E-PL3 and Sony SLT-A77." The new Camera Raw and DNG Converter add Raw support for the same new cameras as Lightroom 3.5.
At its MAX 2001 tech conference, Adobe announced its Creative Cloud "where millions can access desktop and tablet applications, essential creative services and share their best work."
The company also introduced Photoshop Touch for Android and iOS devices to bring Photoshop to "a whole new audience" that wants to combine images, edit them and share them. A Russell Brown video (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2011/10/video-camera-fill-in-photoshop-touch.html) shows how to use a live camera fill layer. Adobe also introduced its Collage (import and drawing tools for collages), Debut (Creative Suite-file presentation software), Ideas (vector-based drawing tools), Kuler (color theme generation) and Proto (Web site prototyping) tablet applications.
Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) has released Color Efex Pro 4 with stackable filter combinations, visual presets, history browser, new filters for a total of 55 and more.
The company also released minor compatibility and bug-fix updates to HDR Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro 2.
Nikonians (http://www.nikonians.org) now "makes room for members to maintain Basic (free) membership status indefinitely." To remain active, a member must either post in the forums, upload images to the Galleries or add friends to their profile.
Nikon has announced the winners of its 2011 Small World photomicrography competition (http://www.nikonsmallworld.com). First place went to Dr. Igor Siwanowicz's confocal image of a common green lacewing.
Evan Joseph sees New York City from a different angle (http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/new-york-city-sparkles-at). A show of his work opens at the Tachi Gallery on Oct. 27 there where he will apparently be on ground level.
Telluride has announced its second annual Photography Festival (http://www.telluride.com) Sept. 26 to Oct. 2 with photography workshops, seminars, symposiums, portfolio reviews and exhibits with an eye toward conservation photography.
Harald Johnson has alerted us that Phoozle's Autumn photo contest (http://www.phoozl.com), which runs through Nov. 6, has more prizes, new judges and new rules.
Lowepro (http://www.lowepro.com) has added to its Fastpack backpack line with the dSLR Video Fastpack AW series in three sizes. The $170 350 AW holds a 17-inch laptop, the $150 250 AW fits a 15-inch laptop and the $120 150 AW accommodates a 13-inch laptop. Each model swings in front to reveal a fast-access, side-entry camera compartment.
Creaceed (http://www.creaceed.com) has released its $50 Hydra Express and $100 Hydra Pro [M] with 12 presets, ghost artifact removal, image crop and exports to online services and local applications. The Pro version adds scope-based image processing and batch processing.
Tenba (http://www.tenba.com) has expanded its Discovery collection of lightweight pro camera bags with the Top Load and Photo/Laptop Messenger bags. Top Load holds a single dSLR with a mid-size zoom, while the Discovery Messenger fits a larger multi-lens camera system plus a tablet or 13-inch laptop.
Photoflex (http://www.photoflex.com) has redesigned its Adjustable Shoe Mount Flash to fit larger light modifiers and radio receivers.
Andrei Doubrovski (http://elementsplus.net) has released his $12 Elements+ 4.0 [M] for Photoshop Elements 10 with the ability to export, import, and manage custom styles, new commands in the Color and Tone dialog (Split Channels and Merge Channels), two new commands in the Masks dialog and four additions to the Scripts catalog.
Tamron has launched its My Macro Exhibit photo contest. The winner will be featured on Tamron's site in February 2012 and receive one of four Tamron lenses. Deadline is Dec. 31 with more info at http://tamron.myphotoexhibits.com/contest.
IvanView Software (http://www.ivanview.com) has released its $69.95 Ivan Image Converter 3.0 [W] with a number of improvements, fixes and optimizations.
Andrey Tverdokhleb (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com) has released his free Raw Photo Processor 4.4.1 [M] with support for new cameras (Sony NEX-5N/A77V/NEX-7, Nikon 1), a new Canon 30D profile, control of numeric field values using a scroll wheel or trackpad gesture and bug fixes.
Max Gapchenko has released his $4.99 Inpaint 3.0 (http://www.theinpaint.com) in the Mac App Store to reconstruct the selected image area from the pixels near the area boundary and thus remove undesirable objects from still images.
Fascinating Photography (http://www.fascinatingphotography.net) offers a six month subscription for $12 and new subscriber benefits, including a 20 percent discount on the cover price of $4.95, an online exhibition gallery and photo competitions for subscribers.
Photo District News (http://www.pdnonline.com) and Rangefinder have announced they will jointly launch Pix, The Photographer's Field Guide, on Dec. 8. The free online magazine will feature over 100 pages of editorial on photography gear, how-to's, photography workshop news, lighting tips, photographer profiles and more.
Photographer Kirk Tuck announced he'll no longer post on his The Visual Science Lab (http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/10/end-of-road.html). "I'm done spending time creating content for free," he explained, although he is considering contributing to The Online Photographer (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com).
We note the passing of Robert Whitaker (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/arts/robert-whitaker-the-beatles-photographer-dies-at-71.html?_r=1&hpw) who photographed the Beatles (including their infamous butcher cover), Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, plus wars from Vietnam to the Middle East.
We also note the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who returned to the company to develop the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. He early engaged Adobe, bringing Postscript to the LaserWriter, which with PageMaker launched the desktop publishing revolution. And as the Lightroom team noted on its Facebook page, "Photoshop was invented on the Mac. The Mac is a key development platform for the entire digital imaging team, particularly Lightroom that was first launched at Macworld."
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